Thomson scattering on non-equilibrium low density plasmas : principles, practice and challenges

E.A.D. Carbone, S. Nijdam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper, we review the main challenges related to laser Thomson scattering on low temperature plasmas. The main features of the triple grating spectrometer used to discriminate Thomson and Raman scattering signals from Rayleigh scattering and stray light are presented. The main parameters influencing the detection limit of Thomson scattering are reviewed. Laser stray light and plasma emission are two limiting factors, but Raman scattering from molecules inside the plasma will further decrease it. In the case of non-thermal plasmas at high pressure, Thomson scattering is the only technique which allows us to obtain the electron density without any prior knowledge of the plasma properties. Moreover, very high 3D spatial and temporal resolutions can easily be achieved. However, special care still needs to be taken to verify that Thomson scattering is non intrusive. The mechanisms that will lead to possible measurement errors are discussed. The wavelength-resolved scattering signal also allows us to get direct information about the electron energy distribution function in the case of incoherent light scattering. Finally, we discuss some recent applications of Thomson scattering on atmospheric pressure plasma jets, but also in the field of electron collision kinetics. Thomson scattering can be applied on atomic but also molecular plasmas. In the latter case, one needs to take into account the possible contribution of rotational Raman scattering.
Original languageEnglish
Article number014026
Pages (from-to)014026-1/11
Number of pages11
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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